The Linda Mellerick column: Other counties come and go but Cork are camogie's market leaders

The Linda Mellerick column: Other counties come and go but Cork are camogie's market leaders
BATTLE LINES DRAWN: Cork’s Katrina Mackey and Julie Ann Malone of Kilkenny in action. The two counties have dominated camogie for a long period. Picture: INPHO/Bryan Keane

CORK now top the roll of honour with regards senior All-Ireland championship titles. 

We were tied two weeks ago with Dublin at 26. We now hold 27. 

Reading through the honours list I think it’ll be a long while before Cork are brought back to level pegging or indeed surpassed. Dublin, despite a good season, don’t look like All Ireland contenders yet. Kilkenny sit in third place with 13 titles, Wexford seven, Antrim six, Tipperary five, and  Galway have two.

Dublin’s 26th title was won in 1984. At that time Cork had 14 titles. 

In the intervening 33 years Cork collected another 13 titles while Dublin fell by the wayside. To overtake Dublin meant a huge amount to longstanding Cork members and supporters.

Counties come and go in camogie, except for Cork. We have been incredibly consistent over the past 86 years. 

We’ve appeared in 47 All-Ireland finals, spread over the years. Dublin dominated from the All-Ireland inauguration in 1932 up until 1967, appearing in 28 finals. 

They then showed up intermittently until 1984 and haven’t appeared in a final since.

Kilkenny’s haul of 13 primarily relates to the Downey era when they won 12 titles in 1974, 1976, 1977, 1981, a seven-in-a-row from 1985 to 1991, and another title in 1994. It’s no surprise that they were also at the helm in 2016 when Kilkenny won, with Ann as manager and Angela as assistant.

But from 1994 to recent times, Kilkenny all but disappeared from the big stage with Galway, Tipperary and Wexford taking over. 

Galway... how they have just two titles still beggar’s belief. 

I would suggest that they are the most consistent county over the past 30 years or so after Cork. But they all too often fell at the semi-final stage. 

They’ve appeared in just 15 finals since 1932 and just eight in the last 30 years. Their most successful period was from 1996 (where they won their first title) to 1998, appearing in three finals. Their second title came in 2013.

Next came Tipperary, who were never on the honours list. That is until a crop of players, led by Michael Cleary, took five titles between 1999-2004. They only had sporadic All-Ireland final appearances prior to that, their last being 1984 and haven’t appeared in a final since 2006.

Wexford got in on the act in 2007 winning the title after a lapse of 30 years. Previously to that they had eight final appearances. They won three in a row between 2010-2012 and since then have heavily regressed.

So, Dublin, Kilkenny, Galway, Tipperary and Wexford all came good at various stages and when they did they seemed to dominate for a few years. But when time caught up with those teams they found it hard to follow the success up. 

Cork, however, remain the most consistent county in the history of our game and that doesn’t look like slipping anytime soon.

Who knows where the O’Duffy Cup will reside for the winter of 2018/2019. You would assume that it’ll be between Cork and Kilkenny again. 

GUARDING TRADITION: Cork’s Laura Treacy, Ashling Thompson and Orla Cronin celebrating the All-Ireland win. Picture: INPHO/Gary Carr
GUARDING TRADITION: Cork’s Laura Treacy, Ashling Thompson and Orla Cronin celebrating the All-Ireland win. Picture: INPHO/Gary Carr

And maybe it’ll be every second year for these teams as regards taking the title home. But we’ll think about that next year. For now, we’ll enjoy the throne we sit on.

What about last Sunday’s football final? 

Sport can be so cruel. There are more important things in life and as you get older you become more aware of that but that isn’t to say that last Sunday’s defeat for Mayo wasn’t heart-breaking for those involved. That title consumed those players and management for the past twelve months. 

They are some bunch of players to keep coming back from their defeats. What characters those men must have become because of it.

There were three senior club championship games in the past week with Ballincollig, Glen Rovers and Inniscarra overcoming St. Finbarrs, Ballygarvan and Courcey Rovers, who have seen the end of championship action for 2017.

Most other planned games for this weekend and next have been postponed due to Cork’s All-Ireland Intermediate replay tomorrow week. It really has been an incredibly long season for club players and at this time of the year every year, I mention about how it should change. 

Clubs are training since January and most have only their opening round played. Their second game is now in October and we’re into the muck and the rain. Draws and replays can’t be helped but I still think that there are missed opportunities throughout the summer months when games could be planned. 

There’s the other side of it too I suppose in that if you run off the season too early, for losing clubs it’s a long summer. The Summer Cup, a senior competition which excludes senior inter-county players, was a good idea, introduced to give clubs games during the summer months. 

It’s up to clubs at this stage to be imaginative and keep the momentum going in their squads as they count down the months in between games.

More in this section

Sponsored Content